Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 adventure movie that is regarded as one of the finest blockbusters whereas in my opinion it is incredibly over-appreciated.
It follows Indiana Jones in search of the famous ark also chased by the Nazis. Now, the story has excellent themes – the search for treasure, the heist, mystical objects, Egyptian mythology, the jungles and excellent locations overall. But it never makes use of it with a tired and awfully predictable and clichéd plot which is of course dressed in the grandiose blockbuster clothing. And it literally copies the adventure movies from the thirties not only for the themes but for it is set in that exact period. But it doesn’t have the charm of those 1930s movies neither in the actors nor in the tone and it is never nearly as engaging or fun but rather dull and even annoying. But what’s the worst is that it is filled with action after action instead of effervescent adventure. There are literally scenes that go for over ten minutes of non-stop stupid action. And I blame this movie as one of the films that influenced others and started the stupid blockbusters over-reliant on spectacle.
Ok, so the plot is weak, but what about the characters? They are even worse! The character development is so subpar here that it quickly warms its welcome. Indiana Jones is fun for many people, I get that. But he is annoying and obnoxiously arrogant that I wanted to punch him in the face. He is the typical Harrison Ford, full of himself character that I honestly absolutely despise and he is the reason the movie does not work. His girlfriend is also not strong, she is better than the female character from the next movie, that’s for sure, but she is nevertheless very forgettable. And all of the other characters are so thin and badly developed that I have no need to talk about them.
The acting is good. Harrison Ford is okay in the role, I dislike him and the character, but there is no denying that he is a good actor and that he plays those types of roles very well. As for the other actors, they serve their purpose, but again nothing out of the ordinary and their performances are quite forgettable as are their characters.
The directing from Spielberg is weak here as he displays no purpose and no structure whatsoever. Technically, it is a solid movie with great effects for the time, excellent scenery and solid acting. But the approach with constant action is awful and because of awful editing, some action sequences tend to go forever. What is also troublesome is that the movie fails to bring any emotion or charm to the table whatsoever and add to that weak and annoying characters and a typical story and you’ve got an empty blockbuster movie that unfortunately influenced other American films to follow in its wake which is why big-budget movies nowadays are so bad.
The movie is also undeniably predictable and also stupid in many scenes with expected mistakes that just go against reason. As for the sound, it’s quite good and of course the score is iconic. But then again, even that score is not one of my favorites from John Williams and the movie relies on it a bit too much. As for the humor, it is awful. There is not a single moment where I smiled, not to mention laughed. And that is problematic because they evidently try. And the famous scene with the swords guy is not just ridiculous, but incredibly annoying and it gets on my nerves. And the tone in this movie is bad because it is too silly and not to mention that it possesses the unbearable amount of 1980s cheese.